The city’s bane


Mr. McBane stated in his letter to the editor that I suggested the city lower its electric rate by 20 percent by simply moving salaries out of the electric fund and into the general fund. I never stated that as the only cause of the problem.

I stated that I called three random municipalities that are AMP public power partners. This is the same source of power that the city of Columbiana purchases from. Out of three random rate inquiries, all three cities had current total rates including all taxes that were nearly 20 percent less than the city of Columbiana. That to me exposes a broken system.

Two years ago when I first called for the vote to lower the city electric rates, they were dropped to the mid 8 cent/kwh range. Two short years later the rate climbed back over 11.5 cent/kwh.

We operated with the rates nearly 30 percent lower than they are now. The fund never went down from the rate drop. In fact, the rate reduction was originally temporary for three months. After three months, the bottom line had actually increased. The lower rate was again extended for three more months and finally made permanent by a unanimous vote of council. The electric fund has since decreased from retirement payouts, north substation upgrades, and the addition of a new substation.

The real problem is black and white in Mr. McBane’s letter. He states “Most, if not all, companies allocate these types of administrative costs back to their divisions and product lines through an administrative overhead rate.”

I don’t think that my opposition understands that we are a municipality, not a company. We are entrusted with providing a great service and a low rate.

The power system was acquired with tax dollars. It should be a benefit to the taxpayers in the form of low rates, not operated as a for-profit business that grows the government’s bottom line by profiting from the utility.

Bryan Blakeman

City councilman

and mayoral candidate